Reviewed by Rebecca Wong
I visited the national Trust site Speke Hall in Liverpool with my family (husband, 2 year old and 9 week old). The Hall was easy to find and well signposted with ample (free) parking close to the entrance. Even from the car park I could see how pristine the grounds were kept. The grounds were huge and varied with nooks and crannies everywhere that could be explored by visitors depending on their interests including beautifully kept lawns and a kitchen garden.
The house, an eye-catching Tudor manor, stood looking very impressive and I couldn’t wait to see what awaited us inside. I was greeted by extremely friendly and helpful staff, for whom nothing was too much trouble. I was unable to bring my pram into the house, which was fine as I’d come prepared with a sling to carry my baby in. The staff were happy to help me with the transfer and stow away my pram in safe place so that I could focus on taking in the details of the house.
Each room was full with all kinds of hidden gems; information, items of interest and artefacts that were well presented and captured the imagination of all of us. There was always a tour guide on hand to ask questions. The Great Hall, which was well advertised in the literature certainly did not disappoint.
We also happened to visit on the Alice in Wonderland themed day. It was evident that a lot of thought and work had gone into engaging children in learning and keeping them entertained; from the hidden jam tarts throughout the house which had been stolen from the Queen of Hearts to the games of croquet and other fun activities on the lawn – overseen by the Queen of Hearts herself – we even got a glimpse of the Mad Hatter!
Following our visit to the house we went to the Speke Hall restaurant for our lunch. This was a lovely, well stocked place to eat and sit back in what was previously the stables (see if you can spot the metal rings in the walls used to tie up the horses). On offer was traditional scouse and minted lamb with potatoes, both of which we sampled. They were delicious and of course after that I had to try something from the huge range of cakes available. If, however, you choose to bring your own food then there is also a picnic area available.
Outside the restaurant there was play area to tire the kids out in. My little boy loved that and we were even brave enough to attempt the maze, although I discovered that my sense of direction isn’t as good as I thought it was. As an added bonus, Speke Hall is situated literally next door to Liverpool John Lennon airport and so spotting those low flying planes as they took off was great fun for all the family from this ideal viewing spot. In fact the views all round were stunning, whether you were looking at the magnificent house, the beautiful grounds or across the scenic Mersey Estuary.
If you want to stretch your legs then take your pick from the coastal walk or the woodland trail. Although we didn’t make it even half way around the coastal route with our toddler but will hopefully attempt it again in the future.
Overall, we had a fantastic day. The house and the grounds are a credit to all the staff and we thank you for your hospitality. I would not to hesitate in recommending Speke Hall to friends and family, there is something for all ages and plenty to keep the kids entertained. We definitely intend to visit again with my family in the future.
Admission for whole property (with Gift Aid): Adult £9.54 (£10.50), Child £4.75 (£5.25), Family £23.85 (£26.25)
For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/speke-hall.
Speke Hall, The Walk, Speke, Liverpool, L24 1XD | 0151 427 7231